Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Just read: From Reel to Deal by Dov SS Simens. "Excellent."
The Word of the Day: Pteropod-according to Websters New Collegiate Dictionary: any of a group of small gastropod mollusks having the anterior lobes of the foot expanded into a broad thin wing-like organs with which they swim.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
This weekend we lost two Acting Greats:
Don Knotts and Darren McGavin.
Both actors were old school pros who worked widely in Film and Television for many decades without a whole lot of fuss. But for me Don Knotts will always be Deputy Barney Fife from The "Andy Griffith Show" and Darren McGavin will always be reporter Carl Kolchak from the ground-breaking 70's series "The NightStalker."
Thank you for all the great work gentlemen.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I first got heavily into Punk Rock in High School (I mean it was a revelation for me) and I've never stopped liking it. Just yesterday we were blasting "Pretty Vacant" as we pulled into our driveway. (My son is ten and he likes them too, although he calls them the "S" Pistols and he can only listen to about a third of their songs because of language issues.)
For me the definition of Real Punk Rock will always be The Sex Pistols. I remember tearing the plastic off the Record Album like I did it last Tuesday.
The surviving members including of course the wonderfully and perpetually cranky John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten , just turned down a slot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have posted here their "Official letter."
Never Mind the Bullocks!
PS: This is an amazing Astronomical Blog: Space
Thursday, February 23, 2006
I had a great day yesterday. My beautiful wife made me my favorite sugar free chocolate cake. (We don't eat carbs in Hollywood)
I had a couple of great meetings yesterday. (Of course I can't jinx them by uttering a single word--this is not superstition it's scientific)
Everybody have a Great Day!
PS:Congratulations to my good buddy Jedi Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis, a little Birdie told me that Hell Night Two is on the near Horizon!
All Actors use 8 x 10's. This is my current batch.
( Suitable for framing or attaching to dart boards.)
If this seems like a lazy post... it is, because today is my birthday!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Yes, Yes Yes...
Pilot Season is heating up again.
I already passed on a show, on the one hand I think it was a great decision, on the other a foolish career-destroying lapse of judgment. (Naaah, I was right.)
So today I am going to sit down and read the scripts on my desk (among them could very possibly be the next "Will & Grace," or "24.")
In other words everybody it's time for me to focus, focus, focus.
PS: The T-shirt of course is a blatant commercial plug but it relays an absolute truth, Paul is for All! (All well written projects with smart Runners attached.)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Greetings! Welcome to another post where I clumsily try and tell you why I like the work of various writers.
First off one of my favorite movies of all time is "Shawshank Redemption." At this point that movie lives in my bones. The script by Frank Darabont clearly and fully captures the absolute heart-wrenching magnificence of the Stephen King Novella "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." (From one of my favorite King Works, "Different Seasons") Key:The tortured crawl through the sewer to freedom and the moment of exultation in the rain.
I've posted about "Crash" already but now my focus is on the script by Paul Haggis. Haggis broke my heart last year with the Clint Eastwood directed"Million Dollar Baby" and he did it to me again with "Crash." What is so fascinating about Haggis' words is that they accomplish all this gut-wrenching without any detectable sacharinity (is that a word?) The scene with the little girl and her dad when the disgruntled Persian shop owner shoots at him...Come on!
Finally, I just saw "Broke Back Mountain" which is arguably the saddest movie I have ever experienced. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have created a world of unrequited tortured love amid a backdrop of striking natural beauty so compelling that days later I can still hear the crunch of truck tires on lonely trailerpark roads.
I'll say this over and over, behind every amazing narrative film or televison program of any genre is an amazing script.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Is the government really involved in covering up the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects?
From "X-Files" to "Dark Skies "
and everything in between this has been a recurring theme.
But could there possibly be an element of truth in it?
This are real photos from the Apollo 16 Mission.
Something to think about.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
My son and I watched Airplane! the other day, He is ten and it was his first time and my tenth(maybe more) The film never fails to amuse.
The script is tight! Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker knocked this comedy right out of the park.
And for both of us, the late great Stephen Stucker stole the show as Johnny. (Tough to do amid such a strong and hilarious cast.)
The only write up of any significance on this fine actor who died too soon in 1986 is on the controversial site: FindaDeath
The amazing thing about Airplane! is how it stands up. It was funny to me in 1980 and it's still funny to both myself and my son in 2006.
One of the key elements of cinema is its ability to bond people as a shared experience. My son and I have now added Airplane! to our communal reference pool.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Is it just me or does anybody else wonder what's going on with this phenomena?
Fred Silva is an expert and runs an amazing site on all things Crop Circular.
The big picture is from Crop Circle Connector.
The other one is by Busty Taylor and can be found along with other info at Crop Circle Research.
As always I welcome information, inspiration and comments.
Friday, February 17, 2006
This is a new segment of this Blog.
As an actor, writer and filmmaker, I am a reader of scripts.
Over the years I have come to recognize the absolute rock-bottom truth of “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.”
In other posts I have and will focus on directors and actors and even God help me-- producers, but here it's all about the Writer.
So my first entry is the amazing film "Frailty" masterfully written by Brent Hanley. It is like no film I have ever seen before: dark and weirdly hopeful, sad and scary--genre-bending is used a lot by folks who write about movies, but this film really is.
Second up is the disturbing and brilliant "Birth" Written by Jean-Claude Carriere, Milos Addica and Jonathan Glazer. Covered very well by Sergio Leone & The Infield Fly Rule.
OK That's my focus on writing for this post.
Try watching these films with and eye on the words and I believe you'll see what I'm talking about.
PS: For you aspiring writers out there, check out Emmy Winning Master Scribe Ken Levine.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
On this day in 1923 English Archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter unsealed the Tomb of Tutankhamun.
Here is a great site that has his personal diary entries from that period.
No doubt you've heard about the curse. Mark Rigby runs an excellent Egypt site which includes a page all about Tutankhamun's Curse.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
First: American Idol which was Terrific! (I mean I really enjoyed the show -- I can't wait until the next episode)
Next:I watched Dr. Phil's Love Smart which was a higher production value Jerry Springer episode complete with an evil psychological ambush.
Here's a picture of Anna confronting Rob for his despicable ways. The other half of the show was a dating segment with Paula Abdul which didn't really work for me,(but I didn't miss a minute.)
What more can I say?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
From time to time I will be posting on the Art and Craft of Acting.
As a professional actor for over Twenty years on Stage, Film and Television I hope that I can deliver information that someone who is currently interested in the field of acting might find useful.
In Hollywood, even a very well established actor like myself has to audition.
I work a lot, and I also audition---a lot.
I tend to over-prepare, meaning that I would rather have too-much of an internal reality for the character I am playing than not enough.
Auditions for me are simply opportunities to act. And I use each one to improve my acting skills as best I can under the given circumstances.
It is my opinion that when people watch an actor, they don't want to see great "acting," they want to experience a real living breathing person that can pull them into the story. (A story that we as artists hope will inform them about their own lives.) With that pull comes connection and that is where the Truth is.
PS: Today I had the opportunity to audition for a real pro: Joe Tornatore who has had great success as both an actor (The Sting, The Champ) and Movie director (Zebra Force, Game Room.)
Thursday, February 09, 2006
This is a another great Ghost Picture Site
There are also sites that run Web cams in an effort to capture Ghosts on film here is one at the Paris Catacombs.
I saw some of the Grammy Awards last night and I was most impressed with the Kanye West/ Jamie Fox rendition of their hit Gold Digger.
But apparently the biggest news in the music world is the runaway success of the new Barry Manilow album.
My wife and I saw Barry years ago on Broadway. We were given tickets one afternoon on Second Ave in NYC by a kindly older gentleman who couldn't use them. At the time we were young struggling New York Artist types with very little discretionary cash. Back then Manilow would not have been our first choice even if we had the money, but we went to the show and thoroughly enjoyed it.(It also happened to be my wife's birthday) So for us the memory of that show coupled with the generosity of that man, has created an automatic Barry = Happy feeling.
That's all for now.
Do yourself a favor and don't look at the scary stuff alone and at night.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I've discovered that my dog Shadow is a talented script picker. All I have to do is read a few pages aloud and then set it down in front of him. If he likes it, he looks right at it and gives me an obvious dog-grin. If he does not, he turns his head and adopts the posture of a hanging judge. As you can see from the picture the unnamed script I received the other day has not met with Shadow's approval.
I will of course pass.
Hold on that's the doorbell, a messenger is here with another script. I gotta go, Shadow!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
France Under the Germans by Phillippe Burrin
Barbarians , Marauders and Infidels by Antonio Santosousso
A Better World a Better You by Lou Tice
The Quantum World by Kenneth W. Ford
Parallel Universes by Fred Alan Wolf
The Sanford Mesiner Approach (Workbook Series) by Larry Silverberg
Finally saw:Paul Haggis's "Crash"
Rich, Unsettling, Moving...See it.
PS: This has also inspired me to see David Cronenberg's "Crash"
Monday, February 06, 2006
In July of 2002 my family and I visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. It is purported to be haunted. (meaning: ghosts or departed spirits inhabit the place)
I took many photos and despite my great desire to see one or capture a ghostly image on film. (I was still using film at the time) I was unsuccessful.
I did have a picture I took at my sons 3rd or 4th birthday that clearly showed what seemed to be a cloudy grandmotherly face smiling down upon him from near the ceiling.
At that time I always printed two copies of each photo. (each photo included the same strange image) I carefully put them into an envelope for safe keeping and of course misplaced them.
I tend toward skepticism in these matters but I keep an open mind. Here is an excellent piece from the Skeptical Inquirer on the subject of Ghost Photos.
If anyone reading this post has a photograph or another piece of evidence that they feel to be proof of the existence of ghosts please let me know.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Al Lewis passed away on February 3, 2006 some reports state that he was 95 others say he was 82.
Al Lewis left his mark as an Actor, Restaurant Owner, Political Candidate and Radio Host.
But for me and countless others he will always be "Grandpa," from "The Munsters."
The sixties sitcom about a family of Ghouls in the suburbs was my absolute favorite when I was a child. It was in daily reruns on WPIX every afternoon back in New Jersey where I grew up.. The interplay between Al Lewis's Grandpa and Fred Gwynne's Herman Munster was both masterful and hilarious.
A great site on the show is maintained by Butch Patrick who played Eddie: The Munsters
Friday, February 03, 2006
Legendary Character actor Charles Lane celebrated 101 years on planet earth this Monday.
Happy Birthday Mr. Lane.
Here is an excellent post:
Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule: HAPPY 101st BIRTHDAY, CHARLES LANE!
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Groundhog Day in a nutshell:
If the groundhog exits its burrow and fails to see its shadow because the sky is cloudy, winter will soon end; however, if the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and we're in for six more brutal weeks of winter.
Which is March 16 for those of you who are keeping track.
I have decided to take a controversial position in my Blog and state emphatically that this Blog does not recognize the overly hyped "Punxsutawny Phil" as the Official Groundhog of today's festivities. Lot's of people fawn over this particular rodent who has his own entourage of tuxedoed and top-hatted assistants. But as for me, I'll take the down to earth and since the 1980's (80% accurate) "Staten Island Chuck" who resides at the Staten Island Zoo. Chuck is the Official meteorologist
Groundhog of NYC (My former home) And frankly what's good enough for the Big Apple is good enough for me!
Forget about it!